The restaurant business is facing a new, updated menu… featuring caloric and nutritional information about items offered on the menu, just as packaged goods companies are required to provide.
A story published this week by Marketing Daily suggested that smart restaurateurs won’t wait for these new regulations to go into effect in 2011; foresighted operators will begin to modify the ingredients of menu selections now, or begin a gradual reduction in portion sizes (to make the per-serving nutritional information more favorable). The article featured research from Mintel (click here to read the story).
You can visit Restaurant.org to learn more about these new regulations (or click here for a pdf summary), as well as other issues of concern to the restaurant business. (It is important to note that only restaurant companies with twenty or more stores will face this new requirement.) That having been said, it’s not just the federal government that is taking action on nutrition for out-of-home meals. A number of states are looking at the issue, too, according to these articles from Nation’s Restaurant News.
Implications: If I’m an independent restaurateur, right now I am probably wondering whether it will matter that I’m not required to post nutritional information on/with my menu. It this new practice resonates with a more health-conscious consumer, it might not be a federal or state government that requires me to take the action… it could be consumer demand, as customers could expect the same transparency from a stand-alone that they're getting from the franchise restaurant.
Regardless of the business you’re in, here’s an important question: When new rules are inevitable, is there a reason to delay your compliance? Or are the interests of both your company and your customers best served by voluntary transparency… and solving any issues now that such transparency could reveal?